With: Rebecca Brooks
Abbi Haas likes them big, bad, and out of her bed the next morning. So when a smoking hot firefighter shuts down a possessive ex by pretending to be her boyfriend, she’s happy to play along—and stay for the no-strings-attached sex under the stars. But her knight with bulging biceps had better not think she’s some damsel in distress. She’ll handle her ex like she does everything: on her own.
Wildland firefighter Tyler McCall is supposed to be taking a break from danger. First step to having fun: pick up a sexy stranger by pretending he’s her man. Too bad his fake girlfriend is also his new coworker…and their little white lie has already spread. Tyler knows he should walk away before he gets burned. But he can’t stay out of trouble, and there’s no way he’s letting her go.
“Meatheads, two o’clock.”
Her eyes flicked over to where he was looking. Shit. Russ’s gang of buddies had just lined up under the awning for Daisy’s Pie Stand across the way. There was no chance they hadn’t been seen.
She’d promised herself she was done with this game. But if she walked off now and spent the rest of the evening acting like she barely knew Dimples McFireman, word would get back to Russ in a heartbeat that they’d already crashed and burned, and he might start getting ideas.
“Great,” she grumbled, even as she tried to rearrange her face into something resembling “happy” for their little audience.
“If you don’t want to keep pretending...”
Of course she didn’t. But the alternative was even more unpleasant.
“No, honey. I’d love to buy cherries with you.” She smiled and batted her eyelashes. He smirked in response.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” he said, like that last word tasted sour in his mouth. He stepped closer, grazing her back, but his voice dropped low and cool. “I’m sure we can get the fuck out of here soon.”
She stole a glance over to the guys. Tyler was right. No one could stand around eating pie forever. They’d finish up at the fruit stand, Russ’s friends would get bored and wander off, and then this whole charade would be done.
She’d owe him. Again. But as long as he knew “owing” didn’t mean “fucking,” she’d find a way to deal.
He began filling a bag with cherries. When she nibbled a sample from the “Try Me” bowl, he gestured with his chin like he wanted one. She picked one up by the stem and dangled it over his mouth. Then she yanked it away as soon as he went to bite it. What was she, a saint?
To anyone watching from afar, it would look like they were any other couple, flirting like they were so happy as they shopped together. Only she could see the hard flash in his eyes.
When she relented, bringing the cherry to his lips, his teeth latched on and tugged. She could see his tongue working to peel off the flesh and had to look away. She should have known that teasing him was only going to be torture for her, too. She knew way too much about what that tongue could do.
“I got this,” she said quickly, trying to cover her sudden flush. She reached for her wallet as he passed the bag to the vendor to weigh.
But Tyler insisted on paying. “They’re my cherries.”
“I thought we were sharing.”
“Hell no. You can get your own.”
Abbi tried not to let her exasperation show to the guys watching them—just to the one guy in front of her, being a sexy idiot as he popped another cherry in his mouth.
“We can’t look like we’re getting separate bags,” she explained. “Not when we’re supposed to be—you know.” She waved her hand.
“In love?” Tyler asked, eyebrow raised.
“Let’s not take things too far.”
That made him snort. “Oh, no. Abbi would never take anything too far.”
Okay. She was officially reaching the end of her fake-girlfriend rope.
“You’re an asshole, you know that?”
“It’s bad manners to pick a fight with your boyfriend in public.”
“You’re not my—”
Tyler pulled her in for a kiss.
Not a full-on make-out session in front of the cash register, but it was still his lips on hers and it tore the breath from her, everything sparkling as for half a second she closed her eyes, melting into his touch—
And then she remembered herself.